Detective Kent Noxom was not above the law—but sometimes it felt like the assholes he was sent to chase down were.
“It’s these goddamn Mexicans,” he complained to his girlfriend, Alicia. “Minute you get ‘em in cuffs, you get the liberal media coming in with their bleeding hearts talking about systemic this and institutional that, and before you know it, you got drug lords running Houston.”
His girlfriend, sprawling naked on the bed, blew cigarette smoke and looked at him with half-asleep eyes and reminded him she’s got another customer coming in soon who might not take kindly to cops.
“You got the time, amigo?” some Hispanic cabrown asked him on his way into work while he was stopped at a light. He says, “Buy a watch, hombre,” then runs just before it turned green. He saw the kid in the side-view mirror, looking after him, chewing tobacco or some goddamn hallucinogenic bell pepper or whatever the fuck, and he had this look on his face, that deer-in-the-taillights look of somebody doesn’t even speak English.
Except there was more to it. He couldn’t tell what, but it was there.
“What do we got here?” he asked at the crime scene.
“There’s six of ‘em, and they’re bigshots,” said the guy from homicide.
He handed Noxom the list. “Jesus Fuck,” said Noxom. He knew these names. Some of these names’d been up on his board for a while.
“A hit?” he suggested.
“A very palpable hit,” said Detective Schiller, like it meant a damn thing.
“Eyewitness says this was one guy,” said Schiller, “and he didn’t fire a shot himself.”
The story was like something out of the funny pages or some goddamn tabloid fluff. Guy walked into a drug deal, started wise-crackin’. Next thing you knew, everybody was shooting, nobody was hitting the guy. Survivor who saw the whole thing said he couldn’t tell whether the bullets were missing the guy on account of him being so fast, or just bouncing right off him.
“Ballistics suggest both,” the Lieutenant announced in their meeting, then explained in detail where each bullet they’d found had come from and how they believed it had gotten there. “And then here,” he said at the end of the run-down, “Here’s where our vigilante crushed the 30.06 with his bare hands. “Then just in time, he added, “Supposedly.”
“Eyewitnesses say what the guy looked like?” came the peanut gallery.
“Said he didn’t look human,” said the Lieutenant. “Big eyes, one horn middle of his head—we figure it’s a mask.”
“Goddamn superhero,” somebody muttered under his breath, but not far enough under.
“That’ll be enough talk like that,” said the Lieutenant.
They didn’t find him, of course—investigation was ongoing. More incidents arose on the beat, robbery, even homicide. Vice stayed pretty quiett, though, until one day they’d set up a raid on a pot dealer thug they’d been tracking for months, but the minute they beat down the door, they knew something was wrong.
Nobody was home.
They turned and it was him—the big eyes, the horn, it looked so…
“The hell you supposed to be?” said one of the rookies.
“I am the Alien,” said the intruder.
“Drop your weapon!”
“I have none.”
“Put your hands up!”
“Why do you think that will help you?”
Faster than the eye could see, he disarmed every one of them. “Mr. Torres is not at home,” he informed them, and leaped out the window.
Noxom led the pursuit, but now he was so confused. I thought this guy was on our side! Hadn’t he been helping them out? Stopping robberies, foiling drug deals? So now here he is, crapping all over our country. What was up with that?
The trail went cold.
“Hey, amigo?” said a voice he could swear he’d heard before. “You got the time?”
He turned. Some dumb Mexican. Couldn’t even see his face. “Get outta here,” he told the kid, “I’m chasing bad guys.” But he had to stop now to catch his breath.
“You know, amigo,” said the voice in the darkness, “You should be more careful who you chase.” Then he lit up what looked like a crack-pope and Noxom saw his face—that face that didn’t look like a face.
“Shit!” He fired. In the light from each blast, he saw the Alien in a different place in that alley. He shouldn’t be wasting bullets like that. He stopped. “What do you want?” he asked, panting.
“I want the same thing you want,” said the Mexican-sounding Alien, “I want justice in the world. The problem is, I don’t think that you and I think the same what justice looks like.”
“You killed those drug dealers,” said Noxom.
“Correction,” said the Alien, “those drug dealers killed each other while they were trying to kill me. They were bad men making millions off others’ addictions.”
“So was that asshole in that house!”
“Correction.” Noxom was getting tired of hearing that word pretty quick. “That kid was making money to support his sister, who is sick. And there is no such thing as an addiction to Marijuana.”
“That’s ot how the law works.”
“It should be,” said the Alien. Then he paused. “I did not mean for those men to die. I acted too soon and I apologize. I would like to work with the police to work inside the law on strategy, but there are so many laws on the books that are unjust.”
Noxom finally lowered his useless weapon.
“Will you help me?” asked the Alien. “I would like to help you.”
“With the things you can do…” Noxom thought about the Kingpins. The high-level corruption he knew was going on. The Cartels. What this Alien could do about them. “Sure,” he said. “Sure, I’ll help you.”
“Thank you, amigo,” he didn’t realize it had lost the accent until it was back. “And I should give you extra special thanks.”
With that, the Alien stepped out into the street light and pulled off his face. It was a mask all right, just a really elaborate one. “For not asking me if I am on this planet illegally. I knew you were one of the good ones.”